What is Port Douglas known for and how to get there? Can you swim in the sea? Are there box jellyfish or crocodiles?

What’s all this fuss about Port Douglas? What is it best known for, and how do you get there? In this article, we’re going to answer those questions and more, including whether you can safely swim in the sea, and if there is any risk of encountering box jellyfish or crocodiles (better safe than sorry)!  

Let’s dive right in!  

What is Port Douglas known for? 

You may have heard of Port Douglas before, but why is it so famous? Well, for one thing, Port Douglas is the only place in the world where two World Heritage Sites meet; Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef.  

Helicopter tour over parts of the Great Barrier Reef,Aerial tour of Great Barrier reef.

Helicopter tour over parts of the Great Barrier Reef, Aerial tour of Great Barrier reef.

The two magnificent spectacles of nature are joined by some of the most beautiful tropical beaches, and there is so much to see and do in the area!  

Whether it be diving, snorkelling, sailing, fishing, trekking through the rainforest, visiting the waterfalls, or even taking a scenic helicopter tour, you’ll find no shortage of exciting excursions to distract yourself with when you visit Port Douglas!  

Mossman Gorge - river in Daintree National Park, north Queensland, Australia

Mossman Gorge – river in Daintree National Park, North Queensland, Australia.

How to get to Port Douglas? 

How do you get to Port Douglas? It all really depends on where you are based and what sort of budget you are working on.  

In any case, the recommended means of travel would be to fly into Cairns (CNS) Airport, which is 53.3 km away from Port Douglas.  

A shuttle bus from Cairns to Port Douglas should only take about an hour. This is without question, the easiest means of travelling from the airport as you can simply check out your luggage, head outside, hop in, and voila: within an hour you are at your destination!  

 Can you swim in the sea at Port Douglas? 

A common question that people ask when planning a trip to Port Douglas is: “Can you swim in the sea at Port Douglas”? and the answer is yes!  

It is safe to swim in Port Douglas, however, you should always be cautious (this is Australia, after all). Make sure that you check out the daily status reports for the beaches that you plan to visit and always stick to the beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards.  

The Safest Beaches in Port Douglas: 

Knowing that it is safe to swim in Port Douglas might not offer you that much in the way of relief. The fact is, whilst there are countless beautiful beaches in the area, you must be mindful of which beaches are safe for swimming, and which are not. As such, here are the safest beaches, for your reference:  

  • Four Mile Beach 
  • Oak Beach 
  • Ellis Beach 
  • Cooya Beach 


Your best bet, if in doubt, is only to visit beaches and swim in areas that are patrolled by lifeguards. If you are looking at an empty beach, as gorgeous as it might be, this is Australia, not Koh Samui! 

Are there Box jellyfish in Port Douglas? 

Box Jelly fish swim in water tank

Box Jellyfish swimming in the sea

Unfortunately, yes. Box Jellyfish and Irukandji Jellyfish (which are both highly venomous species of jellyfish) are likely to be floating in the water.  

The good news is this is typically only during “Stinger Season” – October or November through May.  

If you were planning on going in the months between, then you are still safe to swim in the sea, provided you stay well inside the constructed net enclosures.  

If you’d like to take extra precautions, you can wear sting-proof wetsuits for your peace of mind.  

 Are there crocodiles in Port Douglas beach? 

Aerial view, a crocodile goes to the water

A crocodile going in to the water on the ocean coast

Saltwater crocodiles are common in the Port Douglas region and along the Queensland coastline.  

Make no mistake, saltwater crocodiles are extremely aggressive and should be avoided at all costs!  

If you see a sign that says “crocodiles live here”, then you must heed the warning and take it seriously.  

Another common area for crocodiles is in tidal inlets, so avoid these areas at all costs as well.  

Other tell-tale signs of crocodile activity are slide marks in the sand.  

When it comes to swimming in Port Douglas, you should always be mindful of crocodiles.  

A Guide to Safe Swimming in Port Douglas  

It’s not all doom and gloom! Despite the dangers, Port Douglas is in fact, very safe for swimming. The fact is, pretty much every encounter with crocodiles and box Jellyfish (which are extremely rare), occurs when people ignore the warning signs and take unnecessary risks.  

Here’s a simple guide to safe swimming in Port Douglas:  

  • Never swim on a beach that isn’t supervised by lifeguards 
  • Always be sure to swim in the zones marked between red and yellow flags  
  • Read and adhere to all safety signs present  
  • If you are in doubt, ask a local or a lifeguard who can advise you accordingly  
  • Never swim at dusk or after it gets dark  
  • Bring a first aid kit and vinegar (ideal for Jellyfish stings) from November through May  
  • A one-piece wetsuit can provide an extra layer of protection  
  • Never venture near places where crocodiles might be – be vigilant  
  • Rip currents are the biggest danger of all and you should learn how to spot and avoid them before your trip  
  • Never swim alone; it’s always safer to swim with a partner  


Here’s a quick summary to finish off on:  

  • What is Port Douglas known for? – Beautiful beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, and Daintree National Park  
  • How do you get to Port Douglas? – You can fly to Cairns Airport, and get a shuttle bus from Cairns to Port Douglas  
  • Can you swim in the sea? – You can swim in the sea safely, provided you stick to the recommended areas and take every safety precaution mentioned above  
  • Are their Box Jellyfish? – There are indeed, mostly during the months of November, through to May  
  • Are their crocodiles? – There are crocodiles in Port Douglas but can be easily avoided  

We hope that this article has been helpful to you (and not scared you off entirely!) Honestly, Port Douglas is incredibly safe. IF you are careful and you follow the instructions of local lifeguards.  

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